How to Plant an Orchid Keiki
Before I begin, I’d like to mention that if you want to grow orchids, but don’t have the space, the min orchid varieties available are a great option. Mini orchids–reaching only a few inches tall–are hybrids with all of the pros of growing orchids, without the space and light constraints of their much taller counterparts.
“Keiki” is a Hawaiian word that translates to “baby.” In horticulture, a keiki is how an orchid reproduces asexually. Dendrobium, Epidendrum, and Phalaenopsis orchids can reproduce in this way. In a Phalaenopsis orchid, the new plant, which is an identical clone to the mother plant, grows along the flowering stem. This can happen in other plants too. Outdoor gardeners see my post on a Daylily Proliferation in my garden.
What you’ll need to plant an orchid keiki: Obviously, an orchid with a keiki or two. You’ll need garden pruners, or a really sharp blade. Make sure whatever you are using to remove the keiki has been sterilized. You can sterilize your cutting tool of choice by burning the blades for a few minutes of your stove’s burner to prevent passing on a plant disease. An orchid growing medium. My miniature Phalaenopsis came potted in sphagnum moss, but you can consult the review of orchid growing mediums by the American Orchid Society for tips if you are a first time orchid grower. I’m using these hydroponic pellets that I have available because I find sphagnum moss to be finicky growing medium for orchids. Lastly, you’ll need a container that’s about the right size for your keiki. Since my miniature orchid is rather small, I chose a container the same height as the one the original plant was potted in. As you can see, I have filled it halfway with the hydroponic pellets to make the final step easier.
Before you prune your orchid’s keiki make sure your blades are sterile! If your keiki has developed a large root system, run the roots over water until they are soaked to make them more pliable and less likely to break when you are pruning and planting your orchid. Make a cut along the stem of your orchid just below where the keiki is growing.
Here you can see the keiki has been removed from the parent orchid. While making sure you don’t damage the roots, clean up any of remaining dried and dead stem.
The last step is to center the keiki in the pot you’re going to plant it in and fill in the remained of the growing medium you’re using and make sure your orchid keiki is stable when potted. If the keiki moves around there is a good chance that you’ll break some of the stems. Try not to be too rough when potting your little orchid. That’s pretty much all there is to planting your orchid keiki.
Miniature Phalaenopsis Orchid Care
My mini orchid lives on the bathroom sink. The only light it receives comes from an east-facing window that gets morning sun. If I’m taking a shower I’ll take the plant in with me and give is a quick drink before placing it back in it’s spot. I’ve noticed that the leaves of my miniature orchid start to wrinkle when the plant is in dire need of watering.
If you’ve caught the miniature gardening bug, or are looking for small plants for a terrarium I highly recommend miniature orchids, and miniature Phalaenopsis orchids in particular. They’re pretty much the toughest little orchids I have ever grown.
Do you have a favorite orchid you would recommend to indoor gardeners?